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A very interesting article


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  • John K. Mackenzie December 9, 2008, 12:51 pm

    John K. Mackenzie
    Copyright (C) 1980
    1. The Resolute and the Rigid arrive fortified by the courage of their conventions.They know exactly what they want, even when it’s something they should never have. They remain hermetically sealed to remedial suggestions.
    -If the client concept fails it will be your fault.
    2. Meet, Greet and Eat clients relish the attention lavished by suppliers. They also relish free meals and schedule visits just before lunch. They often know who’s going to get the job before they even get there.
    -Send out for tuna fish sandwiches and Kool-Aid.
    3. Brain Bleeders want new ideas to shop around. They ask lots of questions, take lots of notes, look at lots of demos. More interested in what you did for others than what you can do for them. Quite common.
    -Recommend they visit other suppliers you know to be incompetent.
    4. Low-Ball Lures want to create “The Motivation of Mankind” for a buck-and-a-half because, “We have lots of projects coming up and this will be a great way to get acquainted!”
    -If new jobs ever do come up, budgets won’t.
    5. Telephone Teasers call (or e-mail) 10 contractors and provide vague job specs along with the legendary line, “All we need is a ball park estimate.”
    -Your estimate will be flash-frozen in a solid titanium block.
    6. New ‘Guy’ in Town just started with his/her company (or got a promotion). They assert independence with a blanket rejection of existing suppliers, but then have to play quick catch-up.
    -Check to make sure you aren’t on the old list.
    7. The Virgin from a conservative, low profile company has never used an outside production or planning resource. Prepared to spend money until learning what things actually cost; then race for the door screaming, “Brigand!”
    -A patient introduction to reality could pay off.
    8. The Uncertain and Insecure would rather stay in the office, but competition drives them out. Have a nasty suspicion they should be doing something but don’t know what.
    -Keep it simple. Avoid options overload.
    9. Jack-the-Flipper never uses the same vendor twice. Has horror stories about abuse by other suppliers.
    -If you take the job your story will be next.
    10. The In-House Expert often works in corporate communications or sales. Recent projects bombed and management is pissed. Needs help and ideas.
    -Will enthusiastically accept either and then resent both.
    11. Weekend Wipeouts show up Friday afternoon with an urgent need for (whatever) by Monday. Arrive at your door because others have turned them down. Opening line: “We had a sudden request from our (department name)for a (fill in the blank).”
    -Skip this one if you value health, sanity, family and future.
    12. The Kickback Crew is alive and swell: Giving out to those who kick in. Paybacks run from 5 to 10 percent of the gross.
    -After a moment of obligatory indignation make the deal if it’s a good job.
    13. Shape Shifters request frequent changes in concept and format during project preparation and production. Attempts to enforce previous agreements, or impose additional charges, are countered with threats of project cancellation
    and rocket-propelled grenades.
    -This is a tough one. If spraying the client with garlic doesn’t work, try a stake through the heart.
    14. The Patrician Post-Mortem client is shocked that you actually want your entire bill paid. Shocked! (Your work wasn’t really that great was it?) And, besides, you were accorded a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to participate in an event of
    cosmic significance!
    -Call your lawyer.
    This is one in a series of Meeting Master Memos. Others can be found at:
    John K. Mackenzie is a self-employed business communications writer living in NYC. A 35-year veteran of corporate conference room combat, he put two kids through college while underwriting dozens of Prozac prescriptions. IBM once honored his work by destroying 1,200 prints of a film he wrote and directed: the same film that later received a gold medal at the New York Film & TV Festival. Seniority and senility now permit telling it like it was, instead of the way it should have been. More can be learned by visiting his website at http://www.thewritingworks.com or e-mailing him at info@thewritingworks.com